Math professors contend Tebbetts is United States population center

— The unincorporated town of Tebbetts in Callaway County got some publicity this week when two mathematics professors in Michigan revealed their calculations show the community is now the population center of the lower 48 states.

Their calculation is at odds with the U.S. Census Bureau’s announcement last year that the 2010 Census showed the town of Plato in southern Missouri is the official center of U.S. population.

But two researchers at Michigan’s Grand Valley State University, David Austin and Ed Aboufadel, disagree.

The two math professors used a three-dimensional global map to determine the population center of the 48 contiguous states. The Census Bureau used a flat map that the professors contend is less accurate.

Tebbetts has less than 100 residents. But no one is sure of the town’s actual population because the Census Bureau doesn’t provide a number for unincorporated areas. It’s estimated by some to be between 50 and 80 people.

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